Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 4 - This day in Petty history

1967 - Petty Enterprises takes two of the top three finishing positions at the Southern 500 in Darlington. Richard Petty wins the race from the pole, and G.C. Spencer finishes 3rd in car #42. It was career win #69 and win #4 in a streak of 10 straight for the King.The win was Petty's third and final career Darlington victory and his only Southern 500 win.

Darlington frequently brought in celebrities as the grand marshal for the Southern 500 and to participate in the race weekend's parade. For the 1967 edition, the actors playing Doc Adams and Festus from the TV show Gunsmoke were the guests of honor.

Here is Richard's pole-winning trophy I spotted in the trophy case at the Richard Petty Museum in 2011. I love his pole-winning speed included two numerological sequences of '43'.

The field lines up for the start. Petty won the top spot in qualifying, and he elected to start from the outside. Buddy Baker qualified second in Ray Fox's Dodge. The second row was made up of Sam McQuagg to the inside and Spencer in 4th and right behind Petty.

Bobby W., a fellow member at Racers Reunion, remembers...
In 1967, Richard Petty was THE MAN...that was the 27-wins-10-wins-in-a-row unbelievable season. Richard came into Darlington having won the 1966 and '67 Rebel 300's. Although the Petty's had never had much luck at Darlington on Labor Day, that Labor Day was all about the King. As the race progressed, only David Pearson in the #17 H-M Fairlane remained as a very distant threat, with Pearson only leading when Richard pitted. Richard never won at Darlington again, but man he sure wore 'em out that day.
The yellow flag flew about 70 laps into the race following a vicious wreck by Sam McQuagg. After losing the car, McQuagg hammered the wall separating the track from pit road and shattered it. Fortunately, he didn't suffer severe injuries. Coincidentally, Petty would drill the same wall closer to the entrance to pit road just three years later during the 1970 Rebel 500.

The Petty Blue 43 Plymouth dominated the day. He led 345 of the race's 364 laps! He won by five laps over second place David Pearson, who had relief driving help from Cale Yarborough.

Petty takes the white flag on his way to the win...

...and again gets to enjoy the spoils of victory lane.

NBickley1, a fellow poster at Fans of Richard Petty Motorsports remembers...
I saw Richard win many times. But the one that stands out is the 1967 Southern 500. I was 14 and rushed to victory lane. I was able to sneak inside as Richard pulled in. I stood there and watched it all. As things were wrapping up Richard saw me, reached inside the car and threw me his goggles. I had those things for years before they finally broke. That was a day I'll always treasure.
The Petty crew got a well-deserved photo op as well.

Courtesy of Jerry Bushmire
Edited September 4, 2014

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